Kalumi chats with Erika Elizabeth
Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like?
I grew up right outside of Madison, WI. Living in the midwest, things like wellness, consciousness, entrepreneurship and overall self development are much less of a focus. Many people appreciate the simplicity in that, however, I never felt like my energy fit in. Since I can remember, I was incredibly spiritual and always looking for more depth. My family used to constantly bring attention to my “unconventional” way of going about life.
I was raised as an athlete and my entire childhood was positioned for me to eventually play college basketball. I learned early on what it was like to make sacrifices and work toward something every single day. My parents instilled in me from the beginning that I could do anything I wanted to do if I put my mind to it. For that, I am forever grateful. Because of that programming, my dreams have always been stronger than any amount of doubt that crept in.
Never quite fitting in served to be a blessing. I chose to spend a lot of my time alone and found what I loved at an early age. By age 14, all of my spare time was spent cooking my own meals, making kombucha in our basement and reading books on plant based diets and functional medicine. I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in holistic health.
When it came time for college, I ended up turning down the opportunity to play basketball in order to pursue holistic nutrition at Bauman College, located in Boulder, CO.
What inspired your passion for health and wellness?
Growing up somewhere where nobody really prioritized health, I saw right through the lack of empowerment that that created. I remember hitting a certain age where for a moment, I felt like everything was out of control...my skin was breaking out, I was falling asleep in class and I just didn’t feel like my radiant and energetic self. This inspired me to make a change. I began to eat real food, read books on traditional healing modalities and even took the free yoga classes that were offered at my local Lululemon. It made me feel empowered to choose to nourish myself in those ways. Seeing that I was in the minority where I was living, I wanted to share that empowerment, through wellness, with as many people as I could. This was where it all began.
Fast forward to about 6 years later, I was finishing up school for Holistic Nutrition and began to experience the repercussions of having a history with an eating disorder, exercise addiction and the various stress that had accumulated in my life. I had developed severe adrenal fatigue. It was interesting to be in a position where, from the outside, I looked so healthy. I had what people perceived as a great body, I could complete any workout with ease and ate an incredibly clean, plant focused diet. On the other hand, I was beginning to experience horrible anxiety, I couldn’t sleep and I hadn’t had a period in over 4 years. I went to get hormone panel done and the results showed that I had essentially no hormones and that my stress hormone, cortisol, had basically hijacked my entire hormonal system. I knew that if I ever wanted to get back to feeling like myself, I needed to do some serious work to restore balance in my body. This led me to begin using adaptogens.
We are big fans of your elixirs. Tell us more about the story behind bringing them to market?
As I began to restore my adrenal health, I naturally began to attract clients who needed similar support. I found my niche in helping women who had disrupted their hormones due to elevated stress, over exercising and disordered eating and were now trying to heal. In addition to the food, I shared elixir recipes with them and gave them instructions and rituals on how to prepare them. What makes an elixir is the intention behind it. Elixirs are a drink made with the intention to nourish your body, lift your spirit and balance your mind. Through that, we naturally move away from this disordered way of feeding ourselves. We come at our food from the place of ‘what can I add that is going to elevate me,’ as opposed to ‘how do I restrict and pull back.’ The more experience I accumulated in working with clients and healing myself, I realized how much stress was disrupting our health. Not only that, but much of that stress was self inflicted, due to our negative thoughts, poor body image and the pressure to be perfect.
One evening, I was sitting in meditation and had a full download of each elixir, the ingredients and what each one would address. I had no intention of creating a product line prior to this moment. However, in that moment, I knew I had no other choice. I went straight to my kitchen, pulled out all of my herbs and began to create the blends. The coolest part about that whole download was that I felt like my individuality was removed from the equation and I was channeling pure divine inspiration. Looking back, I see that it wasn’t me who chose to create these adaptogen blends, but rather, the elixirs chose me. I was just open enough to respond to the calling.
What is your favorite part of owning your own company?
The potential. Having my own company means that I get to wake up every day and tap into potential. I am not bound to the ever repeating known. I get to create and innovate a new way of doing things. Having the space for divine inspiration to move and having the freedom to say ‘yes’ to whatever wants to be created through me is the greatest feeling. Like anything is possible.
Do you have any advice on dealing with feelings of stress, anxiousness and exhaustion which can be associated with starting a company?
First and foremost, find a consistent meditation practice. This saved me. I practice Vedic Meditation, which is a 2x/day, 20 minute practice. It sounds like a lot, but it has become as habitual as brushing my teeth. It is my one and only non negotiable for my wellness and the creation of my business. I can say with certainty that By Erika Elizabeth would not be what it is without my practice. I highly recommend Vedic Mediation, but find what calls to you and stick with it. Create that space for yourself every single day.
Start using adaptogens. I created my line of adaptogenic elixirs to be an easy and accessible way to incorporate adaptogenic herbs into everyday life. Adaptogens work on the
level of lowering stress hormones within your physiology and psychophysiology. They peel back the layers of accumulated stress, while simultaneously restoring balance to your system. Not only do they serve to reduce stress and anxiety, elevate your mood and increase your energy, but they promote clarity, creativity and focus. All of which are essential in sustaining your own business.
Balance your blood sugar. Though my elixirs have taken over my life in the last year, I don’t know where I would be without my background in Holistic Nutrition. Blood sugar balance is crucial for maintaining wellness, especially when you are a busy boss babe. When blood sugar is off, you feel fatigued, your metabolism becomes compromised, you tend to experience brain fog and your productivity and mood drop. Eating a diet high in nutrient dense vegetables, healthy fats and clean protein is the best way to balance blood sugar. Every meal and snack should incorporate these things, if possible. This is one of the reasons I love and swear by Kalumi bars. They meet all of these requirements + they are one of the few bars that I have tried that I don’t feel starving an hour after eating. Do your best to be prepared with healthy meals + snacks and find on the go options, like Kalumi bars, to support your on the go lifestyle.
Make time to play. If you’re anything like me, it can be hard to rationalize time for fun + play, but I promise, this will serve your life and your business more than you know. My nature is very disciplined/type A, so I have no problem getting up every day and immediately getting to work. However, this was not sustainable. I got to a point where it felt like the flow of my business had come to a halt, no matter how much “work” I was putting into it. I confided in teachers and mentors and they pointed out that my energy had become dense and serious and that dense energy doesn’t attract opportunity. The advice I received was to go out, let loose and have some fun. I listened to that advice and immediately saw a shift in my business. When you’re working on something that you’re truly passionate about, I find that it can be easy to always be “on.” However, keeping my energy light and playful has now become an important ingredient to the success in my business. If you ever feel like things are becoming stagnant with your business, my advice would be to lighten up and go play.
Tell us more about the power of herbs and how you have seen them help not only yourself, but your clients?
As earth beings, I believe that anything that comes directly from the earth, whether it be foods, herbs, crystals, plants, etc. serves to align us to our true nature. It just makes sense. As a culture, we have lost touch with most of this due to our overly inundated lifestyles. That said, connecting to the elements is powerful in bringing us back to a place of homeostasis. My expertise is specifically with adaptogenic herbs and plant based nutrition. I have chosen to work with adaptogens because they were a crucial part of my healing process in restoring the health of my adrenals and hormones. When I began to share them with clients, they offered the same results. I have worked with all sorts of herbs and supplements and have yet to find anything that balances like adaptogens do. Because of their adaptive qualities, they have the capacity to adapt their function to whatever it is that you, as the individual, need upon taking them. In addition, they work by peeling back layers of accumulated stress in our systems, which creates space for more balance to stabilize. When stress is high, it essentially
hijacks the most important systems of your body, including your endocrine system, nervous system and digestive system. These are the three main areas that tend to be compromised in most individuals. When we can work to reduce stress, these systems restore and optimize their function. The benefits that come from that are infinite...glowing skin, healthy weight, better sleep, reduced anxiety and more energy, just to name a few.
What are your feel good hobbies?
I love to dance. When I realized I needed more play in my life, I started going out dancing every Saturday night with my girlfriends. It quickly became one of my favorite weekend activities.
I also teach beat based spin classes which I absolutely love. I see teaching as a way to give my heart, soul and energy to the people in my classes. There’s nothing quite like it.
I also love making playlists on both Soundcloud and Spotify. If I had taken a different career path, I think I would be a DJ. Luckily, spin classes are my outlet for sharing my music.
Cooking nourishing food for family and friends is definitely a feel good hobby for me.
Writing uplifting content, whether that is in the form of an instagram post or something bigger, inspiration naturally wants to move through me in that way and it feels so good when I create the space for that.
What are some of your top tips for staying healthy and radiant when travelling and on the go? (mentally/physically/emotionally)?
Once again, mediation is a must for me. It gives me the ability to have greater perspective when things don’t go “perfectly” as planned.
Making sure I am well fed is always a priority. I usually research a few healthy spots in the area so that I know where to get a healthy/organic meal upon arriving. I always travel with clean + nutrient dense snacks. Some of my favorites include coconut butter packets,
avocados, 90% dark chocolate, sunflower seeds and Kalumi Beauty Bars. Always.
I also like to look up where I can take some sort of high energy, group fitness class. Spin classes are my favorite, but I also love yoga and kickboxing. I’m not attached to getting in a workout, but if I feel like I need to burn through some energy and move around, I make sure I know where to get my fix.
In addition to traveling with my elixirs, I intentionally seek out organic markets and juice bars that carry adaptogen shots or various tonics that include adaptogens. I swear by them.
By Erika Elizabeth elixirs
What advice would you give to someone else wanting to start their own company?
Connect to your ‘why’ and create from your heart. I promise that if you create from your heart, you will be supported.
Don’t get caught up on the details of how it is all going to work out. JUST START. Start with what you have and begin putting energy toward your vision every single day. If you are creating from an authentic place, you will naturally attract people who resonate with your
vision and want to help you advance to the next level. Don’t let the things that you don’t yet know how to do keep you from saying ‘yes’ to your dream.
Know that it is not the most talented people that experience success. It is the people who show up every single day and even when things don’t seem to be going their way, they show up the next day and the next day and the day after that. Each time stronger, brighter, more resilient, more refined and more aligned with their vision. That’s it.
Don’t get so attached to the end goal/outcome. Enjoy the journey, fall in love with every moment of the process...that’s where the magic is. You never know, things may unfold even greater than you had initially imagined. Take life as it comes and at the end of the day, always say ‘yes’ to YOU.
Lastly, what does beauty mean to you?
Beauty to me is embodying the most authentic version of yourself. It is embracing, owning and loving every aspect of what makes you YOU. It is allowing yourself to align with who you were here to be and how you were meant to show up.
Thank you for your insightful and inspiring interview Erika! Be sure to check out her line of Elixirs 'By Erika Elizabeth' (we're obsessed with the rose elixir!) and follow her @byerikaelizabeth for health and wellness tips and beautiful, positive vibes.
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